Laikipia County is one of the 47 counties in the Republic of Kenya in the Central Rift Valley region. It is listed as county number 31. The County Headquarter is Rumuruti Town but it is temporarily hosted in Nanyuki since the inception of devolution in 2013. Laikipia is a cosmopolitan County and largely rural in settlement.
There are over 23 main communities settled in the county including Maasai, Samburu, Rendille, Somali, Pokots, Tugens, Asians, European, Meru, Kikuyu, and Turkana among others. “Laikipia” is a Maasai word equivalent to trees plain reflecting the large highland plateau. The main economic activities are crop farming, livestock rearing, tourism, retail and wholesale trade. The County is a member of two proposed regional economic blocks namely Mt. Kenya and Aberdare.
The Current Road and Transport Network In The County
The total classified road network in the county is 1,038.1 Km out of which over 80 per cent are feeder roads. The bitumen, gravel, and earth surface stand at 207.3, 328.9 and 501.9 kilometres, respectively. The major transport routes serving the county are Nairobi-Isiolo-Marsabit (A102), Gilgil-Rumuruti (C55), Rumuruti-Maralal (A2) and Nakuru-Nyeri (B65)
Upgrading Of The Nanyuki-Rumuruti Road
The government has set aside Sh.3.3 billion to upgrade 70 Kilometres of Nanyuki-Rumuruti road to bitumen standards, State Department of Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa has said. Speaking to the media in Nanyuki in January,2022, during Inspection of Nanyuki- Gwa Kungu, Naibor, Kisima and Maralal road, Prof Maringa said the road will be given top priority since it links Nanyuki with Rumuruti town, the upcoming Laikipia county headquarters.
The idea was floated in 2009 during President Mwai Kibaki’s administration and there have been several promises to build the road since which finally the current Government has given the Green Light a few months before the August General Election.
The road links Laikipia East and Laikipia West sub-counties and cuts across several conservancies and ranches. During his visit to Laikipia in 2018, Deputy President William Ruto promised that the road would be upgraded to bitumen standards.
In 2019, Governor Ndiritu Muriithi appealed to the national government to tarmac the road so as to ease transport along the route and spur the local economy. Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa has reassured Laikipia residents that the government will inject Sh3.3 billion to rebuild the road.
Impact of Upgrading of the Nanyuki-Rumuruti Road to the County
- Accessibility – The major positive impacts of this Project will include improved accessibility and reduce traffic congestion within the major towns in the county
- Economic Growth – The road will play an important role in poverty alleviation by enabling transportation of men, material and goods leading to diversification of agricultural activities and boosting rural as well as overall economic growth of the county. Thus, roads form the backbone of the county’s growth.
- Offers better transportation facilities – The road will significantly create linkages, thus increasing the opportunities to access goods and services located in nearby villages and major towns/markets. This means that through the improved transportation services, the roads wil lead to improved access to market centres for the rural producers and ensure better availability of inputs and raw materials at reduced prices which can highly impact the income opportunities of the rural people.
Simply put, if the rural producers are able to travel to the markets to sell their produce or buy raw materials for enhancing production, then they can earn a good amount of money and this can increase their income considerably. Currently Nanyuki Town, the acting HQ of the county, sources it’s fresh produce from Nyeri and Meru as the roads linking the counties are better that the Nanyuki-Rumuruti Road
- Boosts agricultural activities and productivity – The road is essential for sustaining agricultural development within the county with its main Agricultural hubs being Rumuruti,Gobet and Lamuria which are accessible through the road to the HQ. The road will provide a boost to the agricultural activities by making water, seeds and other raw materials needed for farming reach in time to the farmer. This can have a huge impact on the quality of agricultural produce and if that is good, then farmers can earn better by selling such a good produce in the market.
- The Road will improve mobility and save commute time – This is especially from Nanyuki to Rumuruti since the current easiest route to Rumuruti from Nanyuki is through Nyeri and Nyahururu which is almost twice the distance using the Nanyuki-Rumuruti Road
- Makes way for more livelihood opportunities – The road will also lead to changes in income sources as it will enhance non-agriculture income opportunities. Simply put, better connectivity will improve employment opportunities as masses can move freely from one town to another.
Impact of Upgrading of the Nanyuki-Rumuruti Road On Development and Cost of Land
- Growth in infrastructure is a great catalyst in the growth and development of towns and as such, the Upgrading of the Nanyuki-Rumuruti Road is set to cause high developments of hotels, resorts, hospitals and schools in the towns along the road. Most of the towns along the road have a low population that’s expected to rise once the road is upgraded as the demand for land along the road is already picking at a fast rate.
- Majority of land selling companies are already pitching tents along the route with most selling plots for speculation purposes with the prices rising with each passing year which is set to go even higher especially with the reaffirment by the Government to upgrade the roads.
Ricco Homes & Developers Limited has been selling land along the Nanyuki Rumuruti Road for over eight years in Ereri which is right opposite Ol Pejeta Gate B just 23km from Nanyuki Town. Selling both plots and acres at competitive prices, the best part being that their clients can pay for the land in instalments. One can view the projects on any day of the week with their scheduled site visits being two Saturdays a month.
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